1 in 3 Arizonans believe employers should be liable for Covid-19 lawsuits, finds study

Temp check

Liability Shields: Over 1 in 3 Arizonans believe employers should be liable for Covid-19 lawsuits, finds study.  

  • Two-thirds of employees would report a colleague for not following Covid-19 health protocols.
  • 74% say their temperature data should be kept confidential.
  • Over half believe they should be compensated for out-of-hours Covid-19 testing.

As business slowly starts to pick up again following Coronavirus-related restrictions, companies across America are addressing how they can create a safe space for their employees or customers. However, as Congress has recently been debating, there exists the potential for lawsuits to be filed against businesses should their staff or customers contract Covid-19. Does the government side with workers who want their safety to be prioritized above anything else, or beleaguered employers who fear resulting lawsuits pose an existential threat to their businesses following extended periods of lockdown?

Protecting workers vs protecting employers: Gomez Trial Attorneys conducted a survey of 5,650 workers (aged 18+) which found that, despite a recent bill voted for by lawmakers, 41% of Arizonans believe employers should be liable to pay compensation should an employee contract Covid-19 in the workplace (compared to a national average of 38%).

Broken down across the country, it was found that West Virginians felt most strongly about protecting employees’ rights, with 75% saying businesses should not be protected from legal blame if workers contract Coronavirus. Comparatively, South Dakotans felt most strongly about protecting businesses during this time, with only 11% agreeing that employers should be held liable.

View these results across the US with the following interactive map

One method many companies will adopt as they re-open their workspaces is to take everyone’s temperature regularly*. Employees feel reassured that temperature checks are a positive way of protecting their health, as the survey found that over three-quarters (76%) believe they should be compulsory each time you enter your place of work. If a person’s temperature is over a certain degree, they could be instructed to go home and seek medical advice.

There are also ongoing debates on the issue of privacy regarding personal data involved in temperature checks**. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of employees say their personal data obtained via temperature checks should be kept confidential. Re-introducing workers back into the workplace has not only brought up issues related to health and privacy, but also finance. For example, if Covid-19 testing or temperature checks take place outside of official work hours, should workers be compensated for their time? The survey found that 58% of employees feel they should be compensated, for example for testing before work, during lunch or after hours.

‘In the midst of a global pandemic, it is vitally important to know your rights – whether an employee, employer, or customer’ says a spokesperson for Gomez Trial Attorneys. ‘If you are concerned about potential violations, it could be beneficial to consult a lawyer or online resources about what legal options you may be entitled to.’

* https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2020/05/temperature-checks-are-becoming-the-new-normal-do-they-work/

**https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/aclu_white_paper_-_temperature_checks.pdf

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